More often than not I don’t meet my couples until the actual day of their wedding.
It’s tricky getting across who I am on email so I usually suggest a Skype conversation first. It reassures that I’m well spoken, that I really am bi-lingual (if needed) and that I’m not unsightly!
Once the couple have decided that they definitely want me to perform their ceremony I send them a very comprehensive questionnaire.
This is the first important step to the composition of a good ceremony.
Most couples enjoy taking the time to answer questions like ” When did you first meet?” “What do you love about him/her?” “Do you share hobbies?” “On which subjects do you disagree? ”
“How do you imagine your perfect ceremony?”
A perceptive, experienced celebrant can get a clear picture of a couple’s profile this way. Even a very brief reply can say a great deal about someone.
Most couples are happy to chat about their relationship and I usually have no problem writing a first draft which reflects them. I’m rarely off the mark. It’s important to treat every couple individually.I do not have a prototype ceremony. It does take me ages and I love it!
I love people.Young or old, children and adults. I’m not shy and I have a wealth of life experience which helps! And most importantly I understand the importance of the ceremony and that it’s not about ME.
Everyone is different. Some brides are far more chilled than their groom and vise versa. My job is to be able to satisfy a groom who’s a comedian and can’t abide seriousness and a bride who pays attention to every detail. Opposites usually attract. Many brides these days are highly successful and too busy to even think about their ceremony…..and I end up making edits 10 mins before the processional.
Very occasionally a couple work everything out in their minds and on paper and I have very little to add. But most couples are so happy when I tell them there is absolutely nothing they have to remember.
All they have to think about is looking beautiful and feeling composed!
I always arrive 2 hours early . Check in with bride and groom, to see if all’s well and check out the ceremony space. I make any small changes space and prop/wise and compose myself with a little meditation.
Everyone gets seated and we begin. My ceremonies are fun and interactive. I prompt and guide everyone involved and I like it to be relaxed.
Most people are ill at ease before an audience and a wedding seems to up the anti a great deal.
So in a nut shell………
I compose the ceremony ,
Get there in plenty of time to reassure everyone.
Check out the site, seating arrangements, amplification for music and voice if necessary, table for signing etc.
Make sure ring bearer/ readers/ musicians/ photographers etc. know the score .
Perform the ceremony………. Guiding everyone without being the centre of attention myself.
I pride myself on really achieving a relaxed but moving ceremony. And lets face it this is the “essential” part of the day.
After the ceremony…….
Many compliments often come from the guests.
“Thank you so much. That was a lovely ceremony……..how well it reflected Lucy and Ben! It was funny and moving with just the right amount of solemnity. How did they find you…………?”
“Do you live in France?”
The bride and groom by this time have been whisked away for photos and greetings , whilst I mingle a little with half a glass of champagne.
………..and slip away still smiling.
My job is done…..